ST. CLOUD - Hundreds of people gathered at Lake George in St. Cloud to show their solidarity with protesters 1,200 miles away in Charlottsville, Virginia.

According to the Associated Press hundreds of people are facing off in Charlottesville ahead of a white nationalist rally planned in the Virginia city's downtown. Rally supporters and counter-protesters screamed, chanted, threw punches, hurled water bottles and unleashed chemical sprays on each other Saturday morning.

The rally in St. Cloud was organized by Unitecloud, a group that "promotes the culture of respect".

Natalie Ringsmuth is the founder of Unitecloud. She says this rally was also about bringing hope to people in central Minnesota.

"Stuff like this (rally) makes us proud. The 150 people that are here get to see that Central Minnesota has people that come out here on Sunday afternoon to instill hope."

While in the past St. Cloud wasn't known for its diversity, modern St. Cloud has seen a influx of immigrants. Ringsmuth says one of St. Cloud's strengths now is it's diversity.

"I find that to be a strength of the new St. Cloud. I am glad that my kids get to go to school with other kids that don't worship like them, don't have the same skin color as them or even born in the same country as them."

The rally marched around the lake and marchers came together in the end hand in hand in a sign of solidarity.

(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)


Justin LaBounty WJON

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